« PreviousContinue »
ing-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth, for in these things do I delight, saith the Lord.” Who then would not be honoured by such intimacy? How far, how very far, are we from such a life; and how little energy is put forth for its attainment! Is there not a lamentable disposition in our hearts to put off that best of friends, and sweetest of society, with a very slight acquaintance; and to understand the benefit of heavenly, spiritual communion, more by the lives of eminently holy men, than by our own experience? And certainly the fault is not in him. He has prepared a heaven on earth for us, if we will enjoy it; a river that shall always make glad the inhabitants of the city of God, if we are not too sensual to drink of its exhilarating waters. Come then, my beloved, awake to righteousness, and sin not. Let the time past suffice, wherein you have wrought the will of Satan. Stir up your hearts to a consideration of those means by which this acquaintance may be commenced, or promoted; and the God of peace shall be with you.
ON THE ESSENTIAL MEANS OF ACQUAINT
ANCE WITH GOD.
Before you proceed to any subordinate methods of establishing this acquaintance, there are two fundamental truths which must be fast lodged in your mind, and continually remembered.
The first is this,
“THAT ACQUAINTANCE WITH GOD MUST BE COMMENCED AND CARRIED ON THROUGH THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST."
Your acquaintance is to be with God in Christ. It is true that in the works of creation, his existence and glory are manifested, and some acquaintance may be gained through them. His invisible power and Godhead are so clearly reflected from the works which he has made, and visible in them, that his eternal and underived existence, his omnipotence, and other perfections, must be known from the beauty, excellency, variety, and immensity of his creatures, by all intelligent beings; except as their minds are debased and alienated from him by sin. “For that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” But all the knowledge we can ever attain of God's perfections, works, or glory, which will tend to our salvation, is through Christ. You will be fully convinced on this subject, if you read the following passages: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.- If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also; and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?-For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
In him all his perfections most illustriously shine. “ The love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. That he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us, through Christ Jesus.-The exceeding greatness of his power, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead. To give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.”
There is an intimate and indissoluble union between the Father and the Son. “Thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee.” We cannot know, love, hate, or serve, the one, without the same dispositions towards the other. “Our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. He that hateth me, hateth my Father also. That all men should honour the
as they honour the Father. If ye
, ye should have known my Father
also. The knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ our Lord.” If we love Christ, the Father loves us, and will make his abode with us; if we despise Christ, we despise him that sent him, and shall be lightly esteemed by him.
If therefore we are seeking an acquaintance with God, this truth must be acted upon, that Jesus Christ is God's established medium of communication with us. No audience of the Majesty of heaven can be obtained, but through him. “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." And the reason is this: Sin was, and is still, a mighty obstacle to acquaintance with God. This broke the friendship, and placed man at enmity with God. And therefore he says to you this day, The fault is not in me: I never sent you away from my presence, with a “get thee hence,” but “your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Now till sin is renounced, and reconciliation effected, no friendship can exist. And this must be done on the most honourable terms.